Power and simplicity combine as Onkyo USA today announced the SBT-A500 Network Surround Sound Bar System along with the company's initial foray into the IoT market with the VC-FLX1, Alexa-enabled smart speaker.
The SBT-A500 features Dolby Atmos audio as well as DTS:X playback, along with wireless audio features such as Chromecast built-in, DTS Play-Fi technology, AirPlay, and FireConnect multi-room distribution. The SBT-A500 ships this month with an MSRP of $999 MSRP.
In addition to providing object-based audio to the latest in video and gaming entertainment, the three-piece system offers advantages over similar products, starting with its low 2.1" profile for an unimpeded view of the TV screen. The wall-mountable sound bar connects to a separate, slim Network A/V Receiver via multichannel audio cable, with full-scale power delivered to drivers (comprising two speakers each for the left, right, and center channels, plus single height speakers) by a discrete digital amplification system. Together with wireless subwoofer, this single-cable sound bar design results in clean installation under the TV display.
The receiver includes four HDMI inputs to connect media players and game consoles, with all components and cabling easily concealed in an entertainment unit. TV connection comes via single 4K/60p HDMI cable with Audio Return Channel, allowing the SBT-A500 to enhance broadcast TV audio.
The SBT-A500 also achieves a stereo performance with a choice of network audio options, and includes a pair of upward firing speakers that conform to the Dolby Atmos standard for overhead sound reproduction of object and channel based content.
The sound bar will support DTS Play-Fi technology that collects music (streaming services, local files, or network-attached audio) into a simple interface for casting to Wi-Fi-enabled speakers, and supports multiple streams to different speakers simultaneously without interruption.
Chromecast built-in, AirPlay, and dual-band 5 GHz/2.4 GHz Wi-Fi provide for app-based music casting, while Spotify Connect lets subscribers stream direct from the Spotify application. Bluetooth connectivity completes a universal suite for wireless music streaming.
Onkyo Controller app brings together wireless casting technologies, simplifies access to included TuneIn, TIDAL, and Pandora services, and centralizes house-wide audio distribution to optional FireConnect-ready wireless speakers.
With discrete dialog volume adjustment for DTS:X soundtracks, DTS Neural:X is also included to upmix standard multichannel audio to 3D sound. The SBT-A500 also supports a Dolby Surround upmixer, which decodes and directs sounds to all of the speakers in the sound bar including up-firing capabilities to provide a higher sense of immersion from all channel-based content.
Rounded out with a 40-preset FM tuner, AV sync function and L/R tone controls, the SBT-A500's feature set approaches that of a full-sized home theater in a decor-friendly package.
In addition to developing products that enable high-quality music playback on mobile devices, Onkyo is developing products that produce sound quality with an eye on the IoT sector where all things are connected via the Internet. As part of that initiative, Onkyo has developed the VC-FLX1, a smart speaker that features Alexa, Amazon's cloud-based voice service. In addition to high quality audio playback, the VC-FLX1 can help consumers monitor the surrounding area via a built-in web camera, and temperature and humidity sensor. The result is a speaker system that not only sounds great but also adds functionality and value.
Onkyo said region, suggested retail price and scheduled introduction date are under consideration
VC-FLX1 Key Features
- Amazon Alexa that helps users play music, control their smart home and more using just their voice;
- High-quality music playback via proprietary full range speaker driver;
- Web camera with motion, temperature and humidity sensors. Combined with third party cloud service, it is possible to monitor the environment via your smartphone;
- Built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth capabilities;
- Will support a wide variety of network music services and Internet radio.